Over the past 7 days, the biggest headline grabber for web-related news was SOPA and the shutdown of sites like Wikipedia in protest of pending legislation from the U.S. government.
Slipping through the cracks – to an extent – was what could become the ultimate “fail” of 2012, that being McDonald’s foiled attempts to trend on Twitter in a positive manner.
Using Twitter’s promoted hashtag program, which allows a business to buy space on the coveted trending topic list, McDonald’s pushed out the #McDStories term, looking to generate positive stories about the restaurant chain.
Not everyone was embracing the warm fuzzies McD’s was hoping for; not by a longshot.
Tweeters (or Twittizens if you prefer) did share some positive stories, but the detractors also lined up to spread their own gospel about the international fastfood juggernaut. As recent as this morning, the hashtag was still going strong with Tweets describing ailments that users suffered after eating at McD’s, and several referencing or linking to a photo that has gone viral on Facebook of the reported contents of Chicken McNuggets.
All of this points to a lesson that any business – large or small – has to learn about Tweeting and using social media in any form. You can look to bulid your brand by getting people talking, but you can’t enforce positivity and you can’t restrain negativity.
The nature of social media is that it is a beast that cannot be controlled. If people care enough, they will be just as willing, if not moreso, to give negative feedback as they would positive feedback.
So before you launch a campaign – especially one that has the potential to go viral – tread very, very carefully and consider all angles; because the intended reception could very easily get lost in a sea of negativity.
Next week: Turning a negative positive – the Domino’s effect.